10 smart moves for buying a used car _ interest. com

Most 3- or 4-year-old cars and trucks are very reliable, because automakers have done a lot to improve the safety and durability of every model.

Used vehicles cost a lot less, too, with an average financed amount of $19,101, around $10,000 less than the amount for a typical new auto, according to Experian’s most recent State of the Automotive Finance Market report.

Buying a used car also means you avoid the depreciation hit new-car owners get in the first year, so a used car can hold onto its value longer, says Ronald Montoya, consumer advice editor for auto research company Edmunds.

You don’t want to overpay or get a car or truck that’s been abused, crashed or dunked in a flood, then dried out and shipped off to be sold to the gullible.

Two good sources of information are Consumer Reports magazine’s April auto issue, available in the library or through the Consumer Reports website, and J.D. Database youtube Power and Associates, a research company that polls buyers about their cars and trucks.

Think twice before buying a model that has a history of significantly more problems than average, especially if major mechanical components such as the engine or transmission are prone to breakdowns.

The typical 36-month used-car loan costs around 4.27%, according to our weekly surveys of major lenders, but you could probably do better than that if you shop around.

Their calculators will ask for a lot of information about the car or truck, from the make and model to its mileage and optional equipment. H2 database console In the end, you’ll be given three values. Database browser The lowest is what the car would be worth as a trade-in; the others are the prices when sold by an individual or by a new-car dealer.

The private-party price is always lower than the dealer price, because there’s more risk. Database help You won’t get a warranty (unless some of the original factory warranty remains and can be transferred), and some naughty people sell cosmetically reconditioned wrecks to bargain hunters just like you.

If you’ve decided to do business with a dealership, check with the Better Business Bureau and your state’s attorney general to see if previous customers have filed an unusual volume of complaints.

Favor cars and trucks that offer such lifesaving features as antilock brakes, side-curtain airbags and electronic stability control, which automatically tries to correct for a skid.

Also, check out how well the vehicle did in crash tests. Database vendors The most demanding tests available to the public are done by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

You can search for ratings by make, model and year. Database key The best performers receive the IIHS Top Safety Pick award or NHTSA 5-Star Safety Rating.

Dealers that sell and service the brand of vehicle you’re considering can use the vehicle identification number (VIN) to determine whether your car or truck has ever been recalled for a safety defect and whether the repairs were made.

This isn’t a deal breaker. Data recovery live cd Automakers must fix safety problems for free, no matter who owns the vehicle or how long ago the recall was issued. Data recovery clean room But you should know what repairs are needed and be prepared to get them done before you buy.

But for about $40, you can use the vehicle identification number to see in which state the vehicle was purchased, whether it has been registered in other states and if there is a history of accidents or title issues.

“A worst-case scenario is if the car was totaled or flood-damaged and someone tried to patch or cover it up and sell it to you,” says Lauren Fix, author of Lauren Fix’s Guide to Loving Your Car.

If you are buying from a dealer, insist the dealer provide you with such a report for free and carefully compare the VIN on the vehicle with that on the report to make sure they are the same.

The Federal Trade Commission requires dealers to place a “Buyer’s Guide” on the vehicle that tells whether the vehicle has a warranty and what that warranty covers.

Get any promises in writing. Database view Verbal promises don’t carry any weight in a dispute. Data recovery fort lauderdale Pull out paper and pencil anytime a salesperson says, “We’ll fix anything that goes wrong.”

Some newer vehicles may have part of the original manufacturer’s warranty in effect. Data recovery equipment tools Just remember, parts of that warranty could be voided if the previous owner didn’t do all of the proper maintenance, so pay attention to the next recommendation.

“If a private owner doesn’t have records, that could be a sign the person didn’t take care of the auto the way they should have,” Fix says. Data recovery lab Skip the car.

For dealers, ask whether the original owner bought the vehicle at the dealership. Data recovery online Then ask whether the owner had it serviced at the dealership. Database union If the answer is yes, ask for the service records.

Make sure the mechanic examining the used car is familiar with the brand and has some kind of certification of expertise from a group such as the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).

This checkup could cost $100 to $200 (get the price first), but that’s cheap compared with the cost of finding serious problems later. Data recovery houston Are you buying a used car? What tips would you add?